Pumpkin Cake with Browned Butter Streusel

Pumpkin Cake with Browned Butter Streusel on dark surface

This single layer Pumpkin Cake with Browned Butter Streusel is the essence of fall. The brown butter gives it a subtle caramel depth, while the pepita-laden streusel adds salty balance. 

3.8 from 6 reviews
Pumpkin Cake with Browned Butter Streusel
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
  • Streusel:
  • 5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup (94 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (71 grams) roasted salted pepitas
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (55 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • Cake:
  • ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (55 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can (425 grams) pumpkin
  • 1⅔ cups (208 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (1 gram) ground ginger
  • ½ cup (120 grams) whole milk
  1. For streusel: In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook until butter turns a medium-brown color and has a nutty aroma, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pepitas, sugars, and salt. Drizzle with browned butter; stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Crumble with your fingertips until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray a 9-inch springform pan with baking spray with flour. Line pan with parchment paper.
  4. For cake: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars at medium-high speed until combined, 5 to 7 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Reduce mixer speed to low; add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin, beating just until combined.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and ginger. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with an offset spatula. Sprinkle with streusel.
  6. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 55 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around edge of cake to loosen sides. Remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Using an entire 15 oz. can of pumpkin makes for a very moist, almost pumpkin-pie like cake. For a less decadent texture and tender crumb, use 1 cup (244 grams) of pumpkin instead of a 15 oz. canned pumpkin.



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    • Hey Reena,

      Thank you for reaching out! yes, you can used fresh pumpkin as opposed to canned. the quantity will still be the same- so 15 ounces. Please let us know if you have further questions. Happy Baking!

  1. I baked this recipe. Be aware that the interior is meant to be like a pumpkin pie, while the outside looks like cake.. You will note that the center shimmies like a pumpkin pie when you remove it from the oven. It is delicious, but the streusel topping makes it difficult to determine when the dessert is completely baked in the center. Although mine baked 55 minutes and tested done, another five minutes might have kept the center from collapsing so dramatically..


    1. It might be a good idea to wait 15 minutes into the bake before adding the streusel. That way there will be no worries about the streusel overbrowning. while the center is cooking completely. It might also help keep the center from collapsing under the weight of the streusel.
    2. I was able to remove it from the pan after 10 minutes, but I noted at that time that the center was a bit underdone, when I removed the parchment from the bottom. It might be better to let the desert cool for 15 minutes in the pan..
    3. Once I had inverted it onto a plate, I turned it right side up onto another plate, since the center was so soft, and cooled that plate on a rack,. Given how the center collapsed as the dessert cooled, that probably prevented a mess.

    It is delicious, and the streusel is fantastic.

  2. I made this last year and agree a couple of more minutes might have set the center better. I also use a 9″ springform pan instead of a regular cake pan, so removal (keeping the topping in place was much easier. I plan to make it again this week to take to a dinner party. It is YUM!

  3. I tried making this cake a few days ago. The streusel was very tasty, and I loved how custardy the middle of the cake was. However, the whole thing was WAY TOO SWEET. I reduced the granulated sugar in the cake to 350 grams because I thought 400 seemed like a lot, but next time I would cut it back even to 200 grams. Everyone who tried it agreed that while it was tasty, the sugar level was overwhelming, and no one could eat more than a tiny sliver.

    I also recommend anyone who makes this to use a pan with at least 2″ sides as the cake and streusel were overflowing the sides of my regular 9″ cake pan. (Maybe the reduced sugar would bring the volume down enough?)

    In sum: I enjoyed it, but wouldn’t make it again without some serious modifications.

    • Hey Mariko,

      We’re sorry to hear the cake was too sweet for your liking. It is a very decadent cake, with a pumpkin pie-like interior that borders on custardy–a bit of a sweet splurge! However, when you reduce the sugar, please be aware texture will probably change as well. As to your note about using a tall-sided 9-inch cake pan, we completely agree. Baker’s also had success with using a 9 inch springform pan when baking this, so the sides did not bake over and it led to clean, easy removal. We hope you find success with some of our other recipes, as we have plenty recipes that have a less sweet profile, but plenty of delicious texture! Happy baking!

  4. This recipe has a much better bake time if you make them cupcake sized. Then you do not have to worry about inverting a cake with the crumb streusel topping. Delicious!

  5. I baked mine at least 10 minutes longer than recommended, as the center was super jiggly. It still came out very moist and almost pudding-like. I wish I had gone with my instinct to use a springform pan, though, as there is no way to remove a streusel topped cake from a regular cake pan except piece by piece. I agree with Mariko that it is a bit too sweet and would reduce the sugar by 1/3 were I to make it again. I would also reduce the additional salt in the streusel topping, as the salted pepitas made the whole thing too salty.

  6. I made this cake last weekend for a dinner gathering. As mentioned in other reviews I extended the bake a good 15 min longer.
    It turned out perfect. The streusel topping was fine and cake had a slight pie consistency. So delicious I intend to make it again next week. Served mine with chantilly whip cream…our guests loved it!!!

  7. Really tasty cake! It definitely has a pumpkin pie like texture and flavor. Although I enjoyed it, I had a few issues.

    The first time I made it, the streusel came out quite sandy. I wanted the crumb look featured in the recipe’s photograph, so in my second attempt I used the cinnamon crumb topping from your “Küchen de Migas” recipe in the Sept/Oct 2020 issue. This worked really well! I did have to tent the cake with foil for the last 10 minutes of the bake to prevent over-browning.

    Also in my second attempt, although the crumb was perfect, the cake itself had a distinct dark, gummy steak in the bottom layer. Do you have any tips on how to prevent this? This didn’t happen the first time I made it. I use a scale, so I’m positive I used the exact same amount of ingredients.

    • Hi Kasey,

      Thank you for the thorough notes! For the cake in the second attempt, it is possible that the pumpkin puree may have had extra moisture. Since this is a naturally variable ingredient, there may be differences even within the same brand of puree. The other cause may be oven temperature. We preheat our ovens until our oven thermometers reach the desired temperature, which can take up to 30 minutes. Let us know if you continue to have that problem, and thank you again for the notes!

      • Thank you for the response! That completely makes sense about the pumpkin. I’ll see if subsequent attempts show similar variability. And I’ll be sure to give adequate pre-heating time.


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